Constitution (ability stat)

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Constitution HP Adj. Return f/Dead System Shock
3 -2 39% 35%
4 -1 44% 40%
5 -1 50% 45%
6 -1 55% 50%
7 nil 61% 55%
8 nil 66% 60%
9 nil 72% 65%
10 nil 77% 70%
11 nil 79% 75%
12 nil 84% 80%
13 nil 87% 85%
14 nil 91% 89%
15 +1 94% 93%
16 +2 97% 96%
17 +2(+3) 99% 98%
18 +2(+4) 99.5% 99%

An ability stat, the measure of a character’s physical fitness, health and fortitude. Together, these affect the character’s hit points and the chance of surviving against system shocks, both medical and otherwise, as well as the shock of being raised or resurrected from the dead. The stat is of considerable importance to all character classes, though it is not the primary attribute of any class.

The table shown indicates the adjustments to the character’s hit points, as affected by constitution. Where a penalty is called for, note that this can never reduce the number of constitution points gained from going up a level to a number less than 1, which is the minimum number of hit points a level can add.

Bonuses indicated in brackets apply only to assassins, fighters, paladins and rangers. All other classes gain a +2 bonus to their hit points from a 17 or 18 constitution.

The survival rolls columns show the percentage chance of the character surviving either being returned from the dead or system shock. Raised from the dead includes the spells raise dead, resurrection and death’s door. The constitution score describes the maximum number of times that a character can be returned from the dead.

System shock includes attacks that cause rapid aging, petrification, hits from natural lightning bolts and similar effects. Some diseases may produce the need for a system shock roll. Contrary to AD&D rules, polymorph and shape change spells and abilities do not require a system shock roll.

Further checks related to constitution include forced ability checks and malady checks.

Description of Values

The following attempts to capture some feeling for the amount of constitution possessed by characters, both from the character’s perspective and that of others.

A full representation of any ability stat must take into account that not every person of a particular total constitution will adhere to the framework presented. This is only a model upon which further categories can be devised.

Constitution-02-sick bed.jpg

Delicate (3 pts.)

Ordinarily, those with a delicate constitution would choose to be housebound, as there are so few places they can visit safely. They are usually sickly members of a family, who are cared for by siblings and relatives. They will usually be very thin and gaunt in appearance, or have the appearance of malnutrition.

They often possess a serious, chronic and debilitating condition, as the character background generator would determine. Otherwise, their daily lives are fraught with difficulties. They are usually in some kind of pain; the swelling of joints and limbs, constantly aching muscles, severe migraine headaches and bowel troubles are all common, often daily experiences. They have a minimal appetite; they must eat soft, usually severely boiled food; meat is difficult, unless it is a very little fish. Small bits of alcohol are intolerable, causing stomach pains. Any flavoured food might result in vomiting. They lack a sexual appetite. When resting or sitting, they will spontaneously lapse into sleep. Often, they suffer from hand tremors. To rest and regain hit points, they must have a proper tent to sleep in. Most are bedridden.

The only class training they may receive will be as illusionists, the spells of which are thought-based and require little effort.

Frail (4 pts.)

Those with a frail constitution have more freedom to seek other safe spaces, particularly to escape a summer or winter season in exchange for a milder climate, by visiting relatives and friends abroad, where they will stay for weeks and even months at a time. Preferring to give themselves to mental activities, they help by keeping the family finances or acting as record keepers. Resting in bed or upon a chaise is often necessary.

Discomfort is a way of life. Because they use their hands quite a lot, they often suffer from arthritis and other similar aches. When used, all their joints will swell. They prefer soft foods, a little fish, no alcohol or narcotics, except to aid in pain relief. An unsettled stomach is usual. Sharp headaches will seize them, lasting an hour or two, and sometimes all day. Their bowels give them much trouble. They have little to no interest in sex. In body type, they are often thin and tremulous, though occasionally some will show signs of malnutrition.

Those levelled persons, who can only be illusionists, may opt for an occasional physically altering spell, but most are inclined to concentrate upon mental conjurations.

Weak (5 pts.)

Such persons that have a weak constitution are like to venture into the daylight for brief periods, if the outdoors can be softened for their needs. They dislike work but will stoically accept it, though it brings them discomfort and distress. They must rest a fair bit between activities, laying down or sitting.

They suffer aches and pains through the first half of the day, as they don’t sleep well, and whenever the weather is outside their comfort. Their diet will include a morsel of meat, mixed with assorted gentle foods. Heartburn and poor digestion do give them trouble. A headache is common, but sometimes they do get through a day without one. They have a small interest in sex. As they sometimes feel they could almost break free of their weakness, depression is a constant shadow. They are often irritable because of it. If not actually thin, in body type they will exhibit signs of loose flesh and a sallow color.

As levelled persons, they are limited to the illusionist track; physical tricks are often chosen as spells, even if this does require some effort in throwing or body movement.

Faint (6 pts.)

While studious and interested in being a part of life, faint persons are often just too tired to sustain a long day of activity. As such, they often retire for periods in the morning and afternoon, turning in early during the evening. They will self-select the least physical tasks for themselves, letting stronger persons do the hard work. They often engage a personal servant, if they are able.

For two or three hours in the morning, they suffer from severe stiffness from poor sleep. They can eat a few ounces of meat and their diets comfortably include most fruits and vegetables. They will have bouts with indigestion but not every day. They may allow themselves a nice beer or even a small amount of strong ale, but only a few sips of the latter. They are hit quite hard by alcohol. They experience an ordinary sex drive but do not make active lovers. Headaches are unusual but can be harsh. They may be irritable. They can experience depression for two or three days at a time, but then all will be well for a week or so. They tend to be corpulent and fleshy, or somewhat too thin.

Such persons are able to be bards, clerics, druids, mages, illusionists and thieves, though always pursuing the lightest physical professions in those classes. For example, a thief will be a forger; a cleric will be a theologian; a bard is apt to be a writer.

Unfit (7 pts.)

Resilient enough to become part of social situations, unfit persons will often be the first to drop out of an activity. At the end of the day, they are the last to finish and the last to make it home. They sweat profusely from hard work, which they are at least able to do. They sleep a great deal. Taking the watch is very hard.

Upon awaking in the morning, they are slow to get on their boots and get dressed. They are slow eaters, though they eat a normal diet. And often they eat too much, sometimes as an excuse not to get started. They are slow to stretch out and get going. They drag their feet. They are invariably sore and often prone to complain about it. They will find any opportunity to nap. Weight is a chronic issue. They prefer ale to wine, which is a little strong, while harder liquors are unpleasant to their gut.

Classically, they’re familiar in their role as guards, as being unfit is the minimum constitution for a fighter. As clerics, they prefer the life of a friar. A thief will like easy work as a charlatan or some other poser. Bards may like non-physical clowning or acting. Spellcasters will prefer sedate occupations, such as a druid that enjoys long relaxed days studying the trees, or nights studying the sky.

Ill-conditioned (8 pts.)

Often able to blame their constitution on their corpulence, their large bones or being a “low energy” person, ill-conditioned persons are usually quite comfortable in their idle, leisurely lifestyles. Oh, they could perhaps take the time to get into shape, but they lack the willpower or the sensibility of it, or they simply don’t care. They’re used to themselves.

They do wake up very stiff, but it passes after an hour or so. They don’t sleep that well, but there’s always some time in the day they can catch up with a nap. They see nothing wrong with their extra weight. True enough, the body can let a person down occasionally, but that’s life. The thing is to appreciate the subtle pleasures of ale or wine equally; perhaps a rare spirit, but only rare, because it does upset the stomach.

Ill-conditioned is the minimum constitution for an assassin, who like other fighters will seek occupations where they’re able to hold their own without having to keep up with others, as private guards, muleskinners, horsemen and the like. Bards, whose stomachs require some attending but who can eat most things if cooked well, will tend to gastronomy. Most other character classes will seek comfortable ~ though not lazy ~ professions.

Sufficient (9 pts.)

Describes the usual manner of health for the period, being someone that is slightly less than sound in body and limb, yet able. Making up the stock of farmers, labourers and others who are beaten down by daily toil, blemishing their physical condition, these folk possess the constitution and hardiness to exert themselves at their tasks.

Most have a satisfying complexion, with a taste for strong drink and ale. They have energy at the end of the day to spend, with fit bodies that are nevertheless worn in places. They are sore much of the time, which disturbs their sleep. They feel fair upon waking, and stretch easily as they head out into their day. Each feels comfortable in their bodies, without much complaint.

Among the fighters and assassins, an occasional paladin can count a constitution of this type. bards, clerics, druids, illusionist, mages and thieves are all the common breed of their classes, with slightly less than average in ability and yet passable with regards to their fortitude.

Healthy (10 pts.)

Those characters with a healthy constitution have no daily complaints about the soundness of their bodies. They are fit and trim, in good shape, ready and able to take on life’s challenges. Healthy persons handle stress well, work well, are patient in their activities and are as full of vigour in the evenings as they are in the morning.

Healthy people are predisposed to laughing easily, are talkative and find it easy to rest and relax when working. Their joints are loose and comfortable even after a day of hard labour. They have strong appetites and like to eat meat and vegetables rather than heavier fair. They have a fit body, toned and firm, with a healthy skin color.

Characters of level will be motivated in their actions and goals. They may apply themselves to the deliberate practice of their professions without being weighed down by fatigue or malnutrition, so that many rise to some amount of authority.


Sturdy (11 pts.)

Those who possess sturdy constitutions will be solidly built, athletic, often rugged and vigorous in their movements and their condition. Among their peers, they are often the most reliable, the one fellow in a group of common miners, farmers, sailors or other labouring groups who will go a step farther in getting the job done.

Feeling active most of the time, even upon the moment of waiting, sturdy folk are gregarious. They thrive upon the company of others, they enjoy a good stretch of the legs in the evening and often feel energized enough to perform even harder labour. Their muscles show a distinct definition, and rarely do they feel any strain upon them, even at the end of the day. They sleep deep at night and are never drowsy during the day. Often, when they work very hard, they experience a sense of euphoria. Before battle, they feel encouraged and brave.

In addition to other classes, monks must have at least a sturdy constitution. Such persons, whatever the class, are driven to achieve. The cleric that gives long sermons, the mage or illusionist able to work long into the night, the druid that makes long journeys into mountain fastnesses … each is a symbol of the common, hardest working member of their professions.

Hale and Hearty (12 pts.)

Persons that have hale and hearty constitutions are full of interest, possessing the inner spirit to push them forward. Their constitution leaves them unsatisfied. They want more. They thrive on newness, like others of higher constitution also sometimes do. They dislike inactivity, inertia and the repetition of everyday tasks. This grants them tenacious zeal that is applied to their intellect, their strength or their charisma.

A hale and hearty person enjoy vigorous exercise first thing in the morning, hurling themselves out of bed, anxious to take on the day. They are light and bouncy on their feet. Before battle, they are ready, keen to get started. Their appetite demands a diet of interesting things, spices, pates, caviar, confectionery … anything that is strange and different. Their aroused by perfumes. Copulation produces a state of euphoria. Their skin gives a healthy glow.

Characters with at least this much constitution will venture out as explorers, settlers, missionaries and the like. They have a fascination with foreign places and with travel. This makes them among the chosen to suppress colonies, lead embassies or military operations, sail the seven seas or venture into the deepest dungeons, confident that their adaptability and courage will win the day.

Tough (13 pts.)

Nearly impervious to the elements, largely untouched by pain, those with a tough constitution are hardwearing, long lasting souls. They can be onerous, when pressed by an unsympathetic wilderness or the merciless implacability of fate; but they’re never afraid, and never in doubt that they’ll bear the worst that’s to come.

Tough persons can sleep anywhere, in any conditions, and wake up ready to work or fight. When they breathe in fresh air, their lungs and bodies fill with the heartiness of it like a drug. They will grin and laugh with others in the face of disaster. Before a battle, they feel tingly and excited to face the enemy. They are spontaneous, ready to fell a huge tree one moment, or whirl into a dance if the cadence of a musician’s tune will let them. They are raucous, fun-loving and noble. When they are happy, their faces flare with a bright, cheery color.

As levelled classes, they like the most difficult work, the most dangerous tasks. They have the nature to carry others with them, to treat every bad moment as an opportunity for a joke. They will always give their whole selves to their calling ~ and as such, will often excel where others have failed.

Robust (14 pts.)

Even in their youth, those of a robust constitution have already gained the confidence of a much older person. They have little left to prove to themselves. They will do what is necessary; go where it is necessary to go. In personality, they are profoundly calm, certain, expressing a remarkable fortitude and patience that offers assuredness and respect with the need for words or boasting.

The robust character has no difficulty keeping awake for guard duty, being possessed of tenacity and grit. When passionate, they will pound on the table when emotive. They will speak economically, as though words were money spent. In listening to beautiful music, their bodies are so fine tuned that they are often possessed with frisson. When facing battle, they are pumped, their blood hot. They will shout warnings to the other side, backslapping their companions to urge them on.

This is the ranger’s minimum constitution. Levelled characters of this constitution, because their number is far greater than those with higher constitution, are the pillar upon which societies rest. Their patience shores up the army; their determination overcomes those trials that would starve the country or see it brought to ruin by disaster.

Stalwart (15 pts.)

Strongly built and high-powered persons with a 15 constitution display a vigour that belittles the appearance of most. Though they may not be strong, they will appear to be of such profound health that they will be perceived to be strong. Onlookers will suppose they are a champion, or a hero of some kind ~ while the character will stride like a panther: one moment sitting or reclining in place, the next, tearing apart all enemies without hesitation.

The stalwart character lives in the moment. Filled with irrepressible energy, they will prowl at all hours, waiting for their next opportunity to bring change. If an intellectual, they will rehearse their speeches; they will talk for hours about their newest designs; they will tirade against injustice. And if things become violent, they will explode with adrenaline and endorphins. They will stride forward to catcall the enemy, shouting, roaring, relishing the violence that is to come.

Such persons are hardly to be restrained as levelled characters. They seek action, sensation, thrills. Only their physical limitations, such as they are, force them to submit to a moment of peace.


Formidable (16 pts.)

Atop the world, these persons are blessed with the ability, the fitness and the qualities necessary to do or achieve anything. Possessed of a constant cheerfulness, despite their physique, their sinewy bodies and overwhelming health, they are possessed of a constant cheerfulness. They fear nothing. Every challenge is another opportunity for greatness.

They never feel doubt. They never have headaches, or a poor sleep. Their libido is very strong and, despite their looks, they produce a musk that is deeply compelling. They need no more than six hours of sleep a night. Before battle, they will bang their weapons against their armour, warming up for the coming fight, smiling and happy. They are tireless and nearly always ready to lift themselves up and begin again.

Redoubtable (17 pts.)

Tremendously intense, these capable persons inspire fear and respect amongst all that they meet. Others of lesser stature do not seek to measure themselves against such persons; it is understood, except by their peers, that the matter is settled. Driven by the will to master the very earth with their raw power, some of these redoubtable persons are almost incapable of speech, except in the face of competition.

Before a battle, they will be wild and magnificent, shouting with fury, slapping their weapons against their own fellows in their lust for battle. When the battle ends, it will take a long time for such persons to calm themselves, restoring the deep, quiet churning in their sinews, until they can “live” again. They are competitive and, when alone, often euphoric. Pain means little or nothing to them.

Awe-inspiring (18 pts.)

Though not actually capable of staggering their enemies with the reverential respect awarded to the gods, the awe-inspiring person will create a sense of astonishment and unrestrained admiration among onlookers. Splendid and impressive in raw physical appearance, even if they are twisted and ugly, others will stare open-mouthed at their countenance. They will often feel like gods; and depending on their wisdom, may allow themselves the virtues and vices of gods.

They have a stomach of iron, and live in a persistent haze of euphoria given to them by their own bodies. They can hardly feel pain. In the company of their desire, they are hypersexual and are often welcomed as physical partners, if not as objects of matrimony. In a battle, they are titans, roaring as they swing their weapons, fiery in nature and breathtaking in courage, resolve and fearlessness.

See Also,
Movement (stride)
The Adventure